This is rather long.

I realized I haven’t made an actual post in quite a while. I guess that means nothing too interesting has been happening. I’m still commuting more than an hour to work 3 days a week, and it’s made me so incredibly tired. Plus we have no heat in our apartment, so I have to spend the rest of my time under a huge couette in order to not freeze to death. (We supposedly have chauffage dalle – heating in the floor – but it does not work at all and our crappy radiators don’t heat anything.)

I did absolutely nothing during the Toussaint vacation. It went by so quickly, but I have no recollection of actually doing anything worthwhile besides cleaning the apartment. I definitely have no photos of foreign cities that I’m dying to visit. I’m so jealous of the other assistants who actually get paid by the rectorat so they can go on vacation. One of these days I’ll travel again. But considering that I’ve already flown 5 times this year, I’m content to stay home with David & Canaille en ce moment.

Ah yes, the rectorat. I finally received my new arrêté de nomination this week. Normally, assistants receive these work contracts during the summer in their home countries so that they can get a visa in order to come to France. But since I was hired in the last week of September and live in France already, the rectorat took their sweet time sending it to me. Now I need to get the procès-verbal from my school, and take both to the préfecture so I can have a travailleur temporaire residency card and actually get paid for working. It’s been nearly 6 weeks and I have yet to fill out any official paperwork stating that I do indeed have a job.

I currently do co-voiturage on Tuesdays instead of taking the train. I work 9-11, 2-4 & 5-6. We leave Annecy at 6:45 am and return at 7 pm. I absolutely hate Tuesdays. On Thursdays, I work at the middle school, sometimes 2-5pm and sometimes 8-11am. The problem is that it’s 4 km from the gare, so someone always has to drive me to and from there. On Fridays, I work 10-11 and 2-4 (or 3-4 in week B). I have to leave Annecy at 8am and I get back at 7pm, just to work 2 or 3 hours. I know the teachers can’t change the schedule because that’s just when the English classes are, and it’s not like the train schedule can be modified either. But it’s frustrating that the only reason I don’t like my job is the commute; it doesn’t even have anything to do with the teaching part!

Unfortunately, the stupid strikes are affecting me a little. There were no trains today, but I was able to go to work with another teacher who lives in Annecy. And then David had to drive 40 minutes to pick me up afterwards (luckily he had already taken the day off). If he hadn’t done that, I’d probably still be in the mountains, waiting for any train that I could hop on. I don’t even know if there will be trains tomorrow, so maybe I won’t be able to make it to work. Which makes me hate these strikes even more. It’s fine if you want to strike and protest against issues that you disagree with, but when it affects everyone else and their ability to get to work (and therefore get paid), it’s not so great.

I am still searching for an automatic car so I can be more independent and not waste my life in train stations. I managed to transfer enough money from the US (and lose a huge chunk of it thanks to the awesomely bad exchange rate), now I just need to find a car that isn’t so far away. Most of them I’ve found are in Bourgogne or on the other side of Lyon.

One thing I did manage to do recently was sort out stuff at my bank. You see, here in France, people who are under 25 have all sorts of special discounts and deals. But apparently when you get OLD, all of those perks are taken away from you. My bank card was a special “under 25″ card, and instead of automatically ordering a new, regular (old people) bank card when the original expired at the end of October, my bank just decided to do nothing. Including not notifying me that I had to make an appointment just to tell them that I do want a new card. I also found out that I cannot open a LEP account (best savings account available) because I am not a French citizen. So I opened what I could – a CSL with a 2 % interest rate every YEAR. Umm, wow. My ING account in the US has a 4 % rate every MONTH.

Speaking of US things… my beloved Thanksgiving! I will never get used to the idea of working on Thanksgiving. I hate going to school and teaching about the holiday instead of staying home and eating food and watching the Lions lose. French kids will never truly understand the holiday or why it’s so important to Americans. I try to teach the history (ok, fake story) and the traditions, but to them, it’s just an excuse for Americans to get even fatter by eating all day and it really makes me sad that they think that. :( Thanksgiving is actually what I miss most, besides 24 hour stores and furnaces.

So because I can’t have a real Thanksgiving here, and because it’s cold and gray every single day now, I’m getting a little depressed. Actually, I’m more annoyed at the lack of heat in buildings. Being cold makes me cranky and tired, and I am always cold now thanks to no heat in our apartment, and no heat in the hallways or bathrooms and even some classrooms at work. Plus I have to go outside a lot more than I did in Michigan, which is how I try to explain why winter in the US is not as bad as winter here even though it’s much colder in North America. I could drive my car everywhere – no walking or waiting outside. Plus there are furnaces and adequate heating unlike the useless radiators found here. (Yes, yes, I know France is trying to not destroy the planet by saving resources… but what’s the point of living if you’re going to be freezing and sick all the time??? It’s no wonder the French consume more medication that anyone in Europe….)

Stay tuned next week for my adventures in visiting a dentist for the first time in France and attempting to make a Thanksgiving dinner without an actual turkey!

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month…

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders […]

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Remember, remember the fifth of November…

Today is David’s and my one year anniversary.

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Burger TV? Seriously?

There’s going to be a new TV channel in France aimed at American expats. It’s called Burger TV. How unimaginative and stereotypical. Here’s an actual quote from one of the directors of the channel: “When you are an American living outside your country you miss two things: your television shows and a good burger!” Excuse […]

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Je cherche une voiture automatique.

I’m trying to find an automatic car that isn’t too expensive so that I don’t have to take the train to work anymore. Comprehending car ads in French is no easy task. And thanks a lot,, for recently removing the search function that specifies boîte automatique instead of boîte manuelle. ::sigh:: I am not […]

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Air France and Summertime

David’s father was returning from Thailand this morning and he made it safely to Paris. Then Air France decided to go on strike, so his flight to Geneva was cancelled, as well as all other flights within France until MONDAY. They’ve also cancelled several international flights. So papa had to rush to Gare de Lyon […]

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Je suis de retour.

So I arrived in Geneva late Tuesday afternoon. My luggage, however, did not. It was sunny and 75 when I left Michigan. Here it’s cloudy and 50. And it took us 3 hours to drive back to Annecy from the airport when it normally takes 40 minutes. Welcome back to France, indeed. Being in Michigan […]

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In Michigan

My best friend got married yesterday. I came back to Michigan for her wedding because 1) she’s my best friend and 2) I was a bridesmaid! It was so nice to see my old friends from high school. We’ve been friends for so long and I’d been missing them a lot lately. And I’m so […]

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I’ve survived a full week of work. Actually, I worked 4 days last week instead of the normal 3 since I didn’t work at all the first week of October. Teaching is easy and the students are fine, except for a few particular bad ones at the middle school… The only thing I don’t like […]

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Le Retour des Alpages

Alpine cow walking toward me. Today was the Retour des Alpages in Annecy. Every year in October, sheep, goats, and cows wearing huge bells are paraded through the over-crowded streets in Annecy to signify the end of the grazing season in the mountains. I missed out on this tourist attraction last year, so I was […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.


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